Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chapter 5, Part 2: "Ambush!"

Part I Here, Part III Here, Part IV Here.

Kal-Mor, still wearing a vision-obscuring hood and groggy and rubber-kneed from the truth serums and psychic probing, is led out of the Mantis Guard Barracks, supported by two gregarious and helpful Mantis Guards whom inform him that he must slay Mohvar the Gray Man, a prospector who harvests valuable iridescent salts from the salt-crust shores of the boiling Iridescent Salt Lake north of Small Dust, a carvan town a day's journey westwards. This will serve as an initiation to the Iridium Plateau Region's assasins' guild, The Cult Of The Scarlet Serpent Leopard.

Meanwhil Buzz Brazelhatch wakes up the luxurious guest suite of his new friend Lohtar Dakalla the Red Man, the scion of a clan of rich spice traders, who has comissioned Buzz to join a hunting party setting out from Jakay in the Rust Desert in three weeks. Buzz and Lohtar have a delicious breakfast of moa eggs, sauropod bacon and spiced sausages with gahveh and pungent green cigars before Buzz sets out to rejoin his companions, his brandy and gin addled brain reeling in the morning sun.

Dickei Dee the Bone Man and Maggot Mort the Mutant arise from a drugged daze in a private room at the Lamia's Breath Intoxicating Vapour Lounge, their senses still infused with the afterimages of complex geometric and architectural hallucinatory visions, their bodies deliciously numb. They immediately begin licking their fingers and the glass plates that the Eibon Matter was delivered on, desiring more of the delicious narcotic state provided by the fermented demon centipede flesh. Eventually, after the brief blissful moment ends, they enter the saloon area and meet up with the rest of the party who are partaking of a breakfast of fried grubs and mixed invertebrate eggs with tumblers of gin to wash it down. Soon Buzz and Kal-Mor enter and the entire party is reunited.

Immediately discussion commences regarding an expedition to Jakay and the Bronze Dome of the Desert. Buzz explains the job available on Lohtar Dakalla's safari, which coincides nicely with the proposed expedition. Kal-Mor brusquely interjects and makes a brief exposition regarding his commission from the Cult of the Scarlet Serpent Leopard at the Iridescent Salt Lake. As this would only take a couple of days, and they have three weeks until the hunting trip, the party agrees and they set out on their orniths westwards out of Agog City.

Scant hours later they are descending down the steep cliff trail that serves as a westward route down off the plateau to the lowlands. Out of the crevices and from behind the rock formations of the steely gray cliff wall looming above them bursts two groups of gray-clad, ragged Cliff Bandits waving rusty bent falchions and axes...

Part I Here, Part III Here, Part IV Here.

Drell Master?

"Mentored by, and dedicated to, Fantasy Grand Master Lin Carter; Poke Runyon’s epic of 1940s style science fiction, set on an exotic world of floating sky-islands, sailing aerial pirate ships, a gigantic, ancient air-squid (The Mother Drell), a maniacal villain with an implanted “Eye of Doom,” an evil sorceress, tattooed, naked amazons, blood-maggot vampires, sword-play, super-science and diabolical sex-magick"
Available Here, sounds like my kind of book!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Quick Observation Regarding the AD&D Fiend Folio

While leafing through my copy, making lists of creatures suitable for my Planet Algol campaign, I noticed that there are a disproportionate amount of monsters in this book that implant eggs in their victims, each with different specific rules regarding incubation periods, symptoms, larva, hit point loss, death, cures, etc. Combined with the raw, leprous, great artwork in this tome, and the cyclopian orcs of their version of the Games Worshop edition of Basic D&D, I really get the impression that the oldschool UK D&D crowd were a weird bunch, in a totally awesome way.

A Realization - I Don't Like The Great Race of Yith

"What! Um, yes, our books do actually look like your normal, twentieth-century, everyday, human books. We're actually kind of embarrassed that we couldn't make them more bizarre looking. If you saw our toilets you'd be really disappointed."

I've come to realization regarding Lovecraft mythos creations in Dungeons & Dragons. This occurred to me while I was perusing Carcosa for material to use in my Planet Algol campaign. Robots? Yes! Snake Men? Yes! Primordial Ones? I loves these guys! The Great Race? Those guys piss me off.

Pretty much anything from the Cthulhu Mythos, aside from the more sad-sack pastiche creations, is fair game for consideration in use in my games. But I've never considered using the Great Race of Yith. These prehistoric communist invertebrates coldly, casually hijack peoples bodies for entertainment, and then just abandon the mess that ensues when the Flying Polys escape by kicking out the souls of a race of bugs people who are the only intelligent beings left in Earth's future. Callous! Their attitude just rubs me the wrong way, damn pompus, self-righteous rugose cones!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thoughts on Dinosaurs.... and their Hit Dice?

Notice how those two adventurers, presumably 4th level, have a real "not going to get involved" attitude going on. "Looks like the breeze is picking up Silverleaf, let's get the fuck out of here!"

I love dinosaurs, I have since I was a child, so it makes sense that I love dinosaurs in my D&D. Whether it's The Isle of Dread, the old Warlord comics, Carcosa, or a forgotten prehistoric age of swords and sorcery, dinosaurs work for me. One interesting thing about dinosaurs in AD&D and B/XD&D is that they were absolute monsters, both hit dice and damage wise. You could totally see a Tyrannosaurs get the jump on a dragon or giant and rip it to shreds. If you incorporated them into your random encounter tables, they were going to be one of the Alpha predators.

I call this the "Skull Island Effect," reflective how, in both the original and the Peter Jackson versions of King Kong (speaking of dragon killing Tyrannosaurs!), dinosaurs were bad-ass. A group of tough adventurers were going to have to be large, well organized and willing to take casualties to take one of these behemoths down. Reminiscent of old giant monster movies as well as Lin Carter's city-block sized "Thongor" dinosaurs.

Hohoho! I think that poor dumb bastard is going to get shredded by a cute ole' brontosaur! How humiliating. "It was hell! Joe got disemboweled by a triceratops, Sam was swallowed whole by a tyrannosaur, Pete was carried off by a pterodactyl, and Mike, well um, a brontosaurus bit Mike's head off. He wasn't even messing with it, just hiding in a tree. Yeah, I dunno, I thought they ate plants too. Maybe it though Mike was a tasty shoot or some kind of fruit?"

As an aside, one of things I love about Carcosa is that when you get into the hex descriptions you've got all these cthuloid monstrosities, war-machine robots, whacked out cyborgs and packs of dinosaurs, many with mutations like tentacles or blasting radiation beams out of their eyes, suddenly Carcosa makes me think of
Kaiju and especially Monster Island! Think of all of those Spawn of Shub-Niggurath, robots, cyborgs and dinosaurs as giant fucking building crushers in rubber suits shooting radioactive laser blasts. It certainly works with the bucked load of hit and damage dice that AD&D and B/XD&D dinosaurs have.
Oh this? Just one of my snapshots from that vacation to Carcosa. Just another boring day watching mutant dinosaurs fight from a village of funny colored people with a dictator named "The Ultimate Warrior" or some shit.

The original, scrapped cover for Supplement V: Carcosa. Brink of destruction? This crazy shit's going to continue for billions of years on Carcosa!

On the other hand, there is a different, yet "genre appropriate" view, taken in works like the Carcosan Grimoire and Athanor. In these works dinosaurs are tough, but not the upper tier behemoths of classic D&D. I call this the "Warlord Comic Book" effect.
"For fuck's sake! Every time I get some one-on-one time with a hot chick in a crazy bikini one of you scaled cockblockers has to jump out of the bushes!"

Sure, when a slavering carnosaur comes bursting out of the jungle at the party it's no walk in the park, but Travis Morgan and company are able to easily dispatch the beast without any casualties. Hell, Travis Morgan can usually kill a dinosaur without wasting any of his pistol ammunition!

These lower hit dice dinosaurs are a different, interesting approach than the 20 hit dice tyrannosaurs of the classics, and I think it would work, especially to emulate a classic "comic book" style, or a campaign where the player characters are supposed to be kicking dinosaur ass left and right, such as a Turok inspired game...
Think that Indian is in trouble? He did that shit day-in, day-out for 28 years, this is his equivalent of a morning jog.

The Serpent Leopard

Posted here on Referees' Resources, a homage to a Fiend Folio classic.

Robot Monsters from Fomalhaut

With the kind permission of the talented Gabor Lux, I have posted conversions of two robotic monstrosities from Fomalhaut/Kard & Magic on the Referees' Resources sub-blog. Those of you who have played the excellent precursor to the Fallout series, Wasteland, may recognize one of these robots.

Invasion of the Maggot People

New Planet Algol monsters "The Maggot People" are detailed here on Referees' Resources.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

D&D Deathclaws and Fallout-style Traveller

In this thread on Dragonsfoot, poster Distorted Humor lays out some of his ideas for using the Traveller ruleset for Fallout-style post apocalyptic play, "Wasteland." (This reminds me of the picture I saw of a LBB/Traveller style Hyborian Age game called "Wanderer," did this game actually exist or was it just a photshop?)

What really grabbed my eye were the Deathclaw Stats! Easily convertable to old school D&D, this critter is going to be one nasty random encounter for the players in the Planet Algol campaign.[SPOILER] (HD 8+4, AC 6?, MV 20", 2 2-12 claw attacks that ignore non-magical armor for purposes of hit determination, with dexterity bonuses and the like still in effect)[/SPOILER]

It's only appropriate, as both the CRPG Wasteland (Gabor Lux's Kard & Magica has D&D stats for that nasty scorpion robot!) and it's "sequels," the Fallout games, are an influence on the Planet Algol game, especially the "Raygun Gothic" esthetic for the Earth Man spacers exploring Planet Algol, although their shooting irons are generally of the six-shooter or bolt-action carbine variety (partially due to some "nonmilitarization of space" principle in the utopian pulp science fiction future Earth in the Planet Algol universe, and partially due to the general lack of military firearms in the 30s-50s science fiction that influences this campaign).

Speaking of Deathclaws, here's their original concept art, a homage to the Shadowclaws from the Wasteland CRPG.

Chapter 5, Part 1: "A Return to Civilization..."

Players in this Act:

Buzz Brazelhach - Australian Fighting-Man
Dickie Dee - Addicted Bone Man Sorcerer
Kal-Mor - Bigoted Hyperborean Assassin
Maggot Mort - Addicted, Malformed Mutant Thief
Monster Monagin - Earth Man Sailor, Bully and Fighting-Man
Rodan the Scrounger - Green Man Scavenger and Fighting Man

Part II Here, Part III Here, Part IV Here.

In the mining town of Pit the party plots their upcoming exploits. Several voice interest in an expedition to The Bronze Dome of the Desert in the Rust Desert westwards.

Monster Monagin makes inquires regarding the availability of guns, and finds out that a laser pistol is being sold for 1000 gold credits. Explaining his preference for lead-shooters, while considering the weight of his purse, he is told that some Earth Man equipment is being sold in Jakay, located in the Rust Desert westwards, as a crashed Earth Man rocket has been found and looted.

Kal-Mor researches the local assassination scene and finds out it is run by The Cult of the Scarlet Serpent Leopard. Their representatives are Mozug the Wrestler in Pit and Viridian Slasher of the Mantis Guard in the Xenon District of Agog City.

Finding the prospect of a reunieon with Mozug awkward, Kal-Mor presses the part to travel to the Rust Desert while stopping on the way in Agog City. The party agrees and after buying new mounts, this time choosing Orniths, a quadrupedal bird-horse, they make the brief journey back to Agog City.

Kal-Mor brings Buzz with him to the Mantis Guard Barracks. Meanwhile Dickie Dee and Maggot Mort immediately dive into the Lamia's Breath Intoxicating Vapour Lounge. Inquiring about new, exotic fares they are informed of a fresh shipment of the rare and expensive Eibon Matter, fermented flesh of a species of demon-centipede from the jungles of the far side of Algol.

The two intoxicant addicts pay an outrageous fee for two small lumps of Eibon Matter which they consume in a private room. They plunge into a slow, sluggish, numb, psychedelic narcotic haze where all their cares vanish as they watch universes unfold in the filth of the drug den.

At the Mantis Guard Barracks there is brief awkwardness when Kal-Mor states he is on "Scarlet Serpent Lizard" business, but soon he is blindfolded, hooded and led into the twisting depths of the Mantis Guard Barracks by two friendly, considerate Mantis Guards who, when they reach their destination, politely strap Kal-Mor into a chair and inject him with something.

Immediately Kal-Mor drops into a black, thoughtless state and feels a presence slowly and methodically going though every part of his mind, helpless to resist or even understand.

After waiting a turn, Buzz gets bored and asks around for a high class saloon. He is directed to the Flagrant Whore in Cobalt Hill and soon he in enjoying brandy and pungent, green cigars with a table of gentlemen adventurers in the dim, smoky lounge. One of the funny-coloured aristocratic sportsmen informs Buzz of a hunting expedition he is forming, to hunt the game of the northern flank of the eastern spur of the Bornite Mountains. The expedition will be staging in Jakay in the Rust Desert in 3 weeks time. Buzz is invited and accepts, and the revelry continues late into the night.

Meanwhile the rest of the party enjoys complimentary cups of Gin at the Lamia's Breath Saloon before retiring to the Chamber of Cushions, the hospitality due to their previous work for the proprietress of the Lamia's Breath, who politely does not bring up the issue of their failed assassination attempt on the rogue intoxicant distributor Mozug.

Part II Here, Part III Here, Part IV Here.

Planet Algol Campaign Houserules

Suggested Planet Algol Campaign Houserules
Written for 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

Ability Scores - Roll 3d6 straight down the line

Races - Human (Earth Man or one of 26 varieties of Algol Man), Cactoid (which is also a class) or Mutant.

Classes - Assassin, Cactoid (which is also a race), Fighting-man (Fighter), Mind Wizard, Sage (a "mental powers" magic-user variant) new class, an attempt at a "swords & sorcery" cleric analogue), Sorcerer (Magic-user with a couple new abilities), and Thief.

Hit Points - Maximum at first level. Whenever a character levels they re-roll their total hit points, if this is higher than their previous hit point value it is used, if it is less than the previous hit point value, than the previous hit point value is used. Basically re-roll your hit points every level and keep it if it's higher than your old total.

Weapons - Any class can use any weapon, however I use weapon proficiency rules as well as strength and dexterity requirements for some weapons. I also use the weapon versus armor type modifiers.

Armor - Any class can wear any armor, however they will be able to use many of their class abilities while in armor, and require a strength score of at least 9 and a constitution score of 7 or greater in order to wear armor heavier than padded or leather. Shield use by characters who do not ordinarily have that ability requires the use a weapon proficiency, otherwise if will only provided protection against one opponent (none in the case of a buckler), large shields will not provide the +2 bonus against missiles, and any relevant saving throw bonuses from magic shields will not apply.

- can use Carcosan Sorcery
- Can cast the Cleric Spell Speak With Dead
- They use their intelligence derived % to know spell to learn a new spell; if they fail they can try again with a new version, scroll, etc., when they reach the next level of experience

Multi Classing - If you have 13 or better in the prime requisites of both classes, you may multiclass between those two classes. No triple classing.

Dual Classing - If you have 15 or better in the prime requisites of both classes you may dual-class, although without the restrictions of not using your first classes ability until second class reaches the same level.

Initiative and Spell-casting (by the books AD&D only) - Spell casting begins on initiative segment, however if the caster is struck before they start casting it still is disrupted. 1 segment spells begins on the end of the casting segment and so forth. if casting extends into a second round than casting takes those two rounds.

First Aid - After a combat one can bind their wound and recover 1-4 hit points lost in the previous fight.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

3 Encounter Tables & a New Sub-Blog

I have started a new sub-blog of Planet Algol, "Referees' Resources," the reason for this being that although I encourage the players of the Planet Algol Campaign to both consult and contribute to this blog (as it serves as a guide to Planet Algol, a houserules document and a campaign journal), I also intend it's use as a resource for other referees. Spoiler tags are ugly, clumsy and easy to miss, ergo the creation of the Referees' Resources blog.

So if you are player in the Planet Algol campaign, or you believe that your referee may be using Planet Algol material, please do not read the Referees' Reference blog.

The posts on Referees' Resources will also include links to documents containing the same information. These documents will be edited and updated as work on Planet Algol progresses.

For the unveiling and initial post on Referees' Resources we have Three Encounter Tables for the Iridium Plateau Region, the Bornite Mountains, the Forbidden Mist Valley and the Glow Stain.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lemmy the Cat

You'd look smug too if you were lounging on 5 boxes of dwarven forge, later put to good use while battling a shrieking, skull-headed, invulnerable demon-whore in her luxurious boudoir. Please note that the cat, dwarven forge and records are not mine, although I use the dwarven forge, and covet the cat as well as the "Left Hand Path," "Altars of Madness" and "Scream Bloody Gore" LPs.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weapon Ability Score Requirements

In an earlier post, I discussed my usage of ability score requirements for weapons in my Planet Algol AD&D game, here is a link to a document with the required scores for many common weapons:

Righting Gan-Ron's Wrongs

The Bold Adventures O' Monster Monagin:
Righting Gan-Ron's Wrongs


The Silver Bronze-Man and his Man made Bride

Courtesy of Planet Algol Campaign participant Peter.

Me an' th' company strode up to the counter in the dirtiest vapour bar in Agog, The Lamia’s Breath. I eyed the crowd balefully. The establishment be a carnival o' the abnormal, full to the brim with all manner o' horrible sights. The thing behind the bar, a freakish excuse for a man, something I’ve heard called a Xorn, recognized me as Monster Monagin, fightin'est man in a company o' real hard fuckers. The three legged and ugly beast sidled it’s way o'er to me and grunted something I couldn’t understand on acount of the confusing manner of it's stony-mouthed speech. I soon deciphered from it's mumblings that the proprietor of the establishment tookst notice of the way I had been shakin' things up in town lately, and had some employ for me an' me men. I knew said proprietor to be of the fairer sex and a human too, and so excused myself from the squadron to speak with her in private.

Well it seemed a damned scallywaggin' fool tookst a liking to some manner of woman and kidnapped her. The blokes name was Gan-Ron The Silver Man, on account of his silver hair and silver magic sword, and the woman was something called a Simfetic, what'ere that be. Well the woman needed rescuin’. Both of them being all out freaks I was against even getting involved, however 200 gold credits worth of somethin' called gammer' oricalcum offered for the safe return of the gal ‘caused me to go colour blind.

“I’ll save the lass” spake I, “and I’ll go one step further in th' gentlemanly direction an' share the bounty wi' me mates.”

Mrs. Lamia's Breath be fully impressed and began t' eye me lustily. I winked at 'er and left to rally me troops. I began givin' orders as to who’d do what. You see I’m not only the bully of this company, but also the Capn'.

“Listen up you dogs, 'ere’s th' plan.” spake I, “We’re gonna save this wee lass on accoun' o' no woman deserves such treatment. Now Dickie Dee I want ye ta use yer bone magic t' gain us best advantage over this Gan-Ron character.”

At this point Rygarr Greenman piped up “Why, I can help too Monster Monagin, let me use some of MY magic!”

This was too much for me t' handle.

“Rygarr th' Freak, you keep your green nose out o' this or I'll bend it right off your face!” I roared, an' shook me gorilla fist in his face.

But after having a chance t' think about it I decided I liked Rygarr’s idee, despite the sub-human brain that it came from. Now all we needed be t' find the silver haired bronze man. The shifty eyed Grub Grizzler spake he could find the fiend, an' he did jus' that, tellin' us soon after that Gan-Ron be holed up in The Palace o' Brass Chambers before leaving us in order to do a spot o' some thievery he had cooked up. So off we sailed.

When we arrived the concierge o' the apartment block be hesitant to admit us, so I convinced him with my usual tact and charm, and also my left and my right. I knocked on Gan-Ron's door and hid. When he answered Dickie Dee cast some sorcerous bone magic on the lad, making the bronze skinned man b'lieve Dickie to be his bestest mate. Me and me sorceror boys entered the room. Except SLAM! The door closed right in my face, nearly busting me schnoz and pushing it onta me lip.

“Well” I thought, wrathfully, “Guess I'll be havin' to instruct that silver man in the ways o' manners and respect. After which I'll tie his neck in a knot.”

After awhile waiting outside I began to wonder if maybe I wouldna get a chance to right Gan-Ron's wrongs. Although weak in constitution an' flabby in limb I knew me magic boys t'be decisive enough to seize an opportunity when it presented itself. I stewed an' stormed in that hallway outside of Gan-Ron's apartment, cursing me missed opportunity at revenge fer me bloodied nose. I spat on the ground, kicked at the floor, an' wrung me hat violently.

After awhile I calmed down and decided to hade back to the room that Dude Earthman had rented. Eventually Dickie Dee the Boneman and Rygarr showed up an' told me of Gan-Ron's plan to go west with a caravan tomorrow. They also tells that Gan-Ron has fallen in love wi' his captive an' be planning on marryin' the lass. Seeing that me boys didn't get the job done, I saw my opportunity for revenge, but I wasn't sure how we'd be rescuing the lass without causing a ruckus. I stewed all night.

That morning Maggot Mort an' Grub tracked the horrible and rude kidnapper Gan-Ron to the caravan 'ere we found iron carriages drawn by lizards as big as rowboats. Into one o' the caravans we saw Gan-Ron drag his prey and love, the Synpfatic woman. Seein' that we've missed our chance to intercept it was decided to buy some time an' set sail with the caravan. The caravan master charged us an exorbitant fee. I was against paying such a large sum but Dickie Dee convinced me to use this time to relax, an' perhaps view it as a vacation in the midst of all this investigatin' we been doin'. I tell ya, sometimes that bone man be the pure voice o' reason.

As we travelled I watched the winds massage the purple grasses of Agog. It reminded me of watching seas ripple about The Black Scream as it ripped it's path to ports all across the seven seas. I got sentimental, and fearing a bout of sorrow an' grief I thought up a plan an' with the captain's spirit in me I put my two go to boys, Dickie Dee and Rygarr, into action. I told them to get their way into that iron cage any way they could an' to come out champs. Slay that awful Gan-Ron and rescue his captive. Now ye might think that be cowardly, to send in those two when obviously I be the fightin'est man, but 'tis like this: you use the right tool for the right job, and them magic throwin' boys of mine happened to be the right tool to use. Ye see this here operation needed discretion, and them boys gots devious discretion in spades.

So we arrives in the town of Small Dust and I jus' know my boys be havin' done the job, so I and the rest o' the crew get a room far on the other side o' town. I sent Grub Grizzler to send word of our location to the boys but he chaffed off on some damn fools errand an' got his throat slit. Serves him right. Eventually the boys they showed up anyways wi' the now liberated lass rolled in brass steamer trunk. In order to congratulate a job well done I propped the trunk up against a wall and bought all the crew many rounds o' drinks, due t' me heart being as big as me muscles.

The next day at about mid-mornin', while tying up some lose knots in Small Dust, Dickie Dee the Boneman piped up “Capn', I hate to put an unpleasant damper on our business, but the subject of our commission is still packed up in a cramped, unventilated brass trunk, and I fear we'll be neglecting the responsibilities of our tutelage if we continue to refrain from supplying her with provender.”


Well, the whole troop o' us hastily rushed to our room. We found that the lass was alright after all. We fed the lass, and e'en managed to get 'er mind a good distance from the terrifying ordeal she had wi' Gan-Ron. So we bought a bunch o' zorses an' rode hard for Agog City and The Lamia's Breath. I managed t' sweet talk our way into town, an' soon me and me company be all payed well, and enjoyin' some fine gin, layin' upon the cushions and congratulatin' each other.

“Well I be guessin' that be the last time Gan-Ron erewalks on the wrong side o' the law” I mused, only regrettin' that I nere got a chance t' bust his nose as payback fer him bustin' mine.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chapter 4, Part 7: "No Man is Left Behind..."

Part I Here, Part II Here, Part III Here, Part IV Here, Part V Here, Part VI Here.

After recovering from their initial foray into the underworld beneath Pitt, the party again sets off into the tunnels connecting to the bottomless shaft, this time taking the unexplored branch.

They walk through several long, dusty passages, finding empty chamber after empty chamber. One room does contain an massive lead statue of a Hluss with the caption, in the script of the Elder Races "Hail the Hluss, Masters of the Underworld!"

While negotiating the maze of featureless passages, the party again smells a terrible stench before they see 5 shunned ones peering around an upcoming corner.

Soon they are battling 2 of the slender beings of rotting aspect, the fighting-men having a hard go of it due to the incredible speed and grace of the Shunned Ones who easily bat aside their blows with their wand-like greatswords. However they are soon bloody from the companion's halberds and swords, and the other 3 Shunned Ones rish into the fray.

At which point one of the Sorcerers renders them all unconscious with a sovereign somnolent incantation. The stinking forms are searched, and the sorcerers use the gland of the third eye to seek magic emanations. One of the swords is magic, and one of the shunned ones is wearing a suit of close-fitting, light flexible mesh of some strange alloy and three ancient technological devices, "eyes" are found as well. The unhuman beings are decapitated and the companions return to the Black Pickaxe Mining Gang's office to collect their gold credits. They enjoy a round of gin and pungent green cigars before leaving.

The party returns to their inn. A physician is called in to treat their wounds and a sage is summoned as well. The youthful sage reveals the degrees of potency of the sword and mail, three auric shells, and the eyes are identified and their remaining charges disclosed. One protects against all weapons for a goodly amount of time, with only two charges; another slows foes to a third of their speed as has over fifty charges; the third can raise those who have been dead for three weeks or less, requiring only a scrap of their mortal remain, and has over a score of charges!

Over the next couple of days, while relaxing and planning their next foray, Maggot Mort and Dickie Dee again visit the Brass Tines and engage in a bout of recreation Gamma Iridium abuse. They return jittery, with grayish complexions and sores.

Monster Monagin claims the suit of magic mail, and takes a brief sabbatical as a constitutional as well as to practice his weapon skills. Rygarr also decides to study his mouldering scrolls and tomes and declines to partake in the next expedition. Visions of great magical wealth in their brains, the rest of the party descends again into the bowels of Algol.

Among their wanderings through the endless passages, they find a secret door, with a staircase descending deeper behind. The decide it prudent to refrain from exploring in that direction, and continue wandering the tunnels to encounter the reek on cinnamon, the harbinger of a pair of hexapodal beings with graying shaggy skin like layers mouldering paper, Ssu!

Ssu picture from Tekumel.com

A ferocious battle ensues, one of the Ssu engaging the party while the hold holds back, casting an occasional spell. At one point one of the fighting-men decapitates the meleeing Ssu only to see the other cast a spell on their foe that results in it growing another head and returning to the battle, it's sword cutting a deep gash into the cactus man Euphorbus than renders him unconscious on the floor, bleeding thick green sap.

The part flees, abandoning the gregarious Cactoid the mercies of the Ssu. The Ssu gives chase and "The Eye of Retarding Destiny" is utilized and their foes slowly proceed as if walking through syrup. The party gets away, returns to the surface and resigns their commission.

Their employer is understanding, knowing too well the horrors that lurk in the underworld, and is grateful for the services rendered. He tells the party that they can stay at the luxurious Titanium Vault for a couple of days while they mend their wounds and bundle up their belongings. The companions begine to make plans for their next expedition, and many express curiosity regarding the contents of The Bronze Dome of the Desert, located in the Rust Desert easywards.

Part I Here, Part II Here, Part III Here, Part IV Here, Part V Here, Part VI Here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hex 1408: Jakay

Zodhar the Inexorable, a blue Kerulian Assassin of the Beaded Lizard Clan; Governor of Jakay for Agog City and The Controller.

Population: Several hundred inhabitants, roughly broken down as follows:
  • 35% Kerulian (Blue) Men. Half are of the Beaded Lizard clan, the other half are of the Banded Viper clan.
  • 15% Agogi (Pink) Men
  • 15% Lhovanni (Red) Men
  • 10% Gresh (Yellow) Men
  • 10% Zermish (Green) Men
  • 5% other races of Men
  • 5% Cactoids
  • 5% Phraints
The Spire of Turquoise and Copper: Jakay's sole tower; inhabited by Tazar the Interlocutor (elderly brown Angallan Sorcerer) and Botrubt the Obese (eyeless, sweaty white Hyperborean Sage).

Samdahr the Precise: a fussy, pink Agogi sage-physician; his practice is located in the town bazaar.

The town of Jakay is composed primarily of squat, single-storied drab clay buildings. It is located on an "elbow" of the Agog-Eastern Cities trade route, where it detours to avoid the raiders and monsters that lurk in the heart of the Rust Desert. Scavengers and artifact hunters use Jakay as a base for their expeditions into the Rust Desert. A ancient throbbing atomic pump provides water for the region.

On top of the town's fortifications several platforms of rusted girders serve as look-outs. Composed of half-buried bunkers, the walled structure surrounds the buildings of Jakay. Rumours persist of concealed laser cannons within these rusting watch platforms.

The town guard is mostly Kerulian and Lhovanni troops, with Cactoid and Phraint elite infantry. Their commands come from both Agogi and Kerulian Beaded Lizard Clan officers. The Cactoids are a clan of mercenary warriors that, at one time, had a temporary contract with The Controller, Immortal Demigod of Agog City.

The Controller, however, twisted the terms of the contract, binding the honorable Cactoids to terms they feel bound to fulfill. This leaves the ordinarily nomadic Cactoids serving as elite infantry for The Controller's interests in the Rust Desert region.

Musings on Shields

In my Planet Algol campaign, characters are free to use any weapons or armor, as long as they fall within the following:
  • We use the weapon proficiency rules as our basis
  • You can only be proficient with weapons that you have a high enough strength and/or dexterity score to wield properly. (These requirements are cribbed from RuneQuest/BRP.)
  • You may not use your classes special abilities while wearing armor that is ordinarily prohibited for that class; i.e. No backstabbing, no spell casting. However, there is a chance you can get away with using Read Languages while wearing plate mail.
Of course, I immediately had the players of sorcerers (magic-users) and thieves asking if they could use shields. My initial response was "Sure, if you spend a weapon proficiency for it."

Upon further consideration, one factor became apparent: I cannot think of a more iconic item of the "Fighting Man" archetype than the shield. If I see a picture of someone using a shield, I assume they are a Warrior with a capital "W". Sure, other archetypes use all sorts of arms in "influential materials" and pop culture, but once a character has a shield strapped to their arm, they become a knight, a soldier, a barbarian raider, or some other kind of full-time professional fighting-man.

Of course this runs contrary to the classic D&D trope of the Cleric (think Van Helsing crossed with a combat medic); but clerics are an odd duck and more something that emerged from game play in the early, developmental days of the game than an accurate depiction of an archetype.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Planet Algol Character Race/Class - Cactoid

The Cactoid
(racial class)

Armor: any (a Cactoid must clip off it's spines to wear armor)
Shield: any
Weapons: any
Oil: yes
Poison: yes
Starting Gold: 5d4 x 10 gold pieces
Weapon Proficiencies: 3 starting proficiencies (otherwise same as a fighter)
Starting Age: 20 + 1d4 years
Attack Matrix:: fighter
Saving Throw Matrix: fighter, +4 to saves against poison
Requirements: strength 9, constitution 13 (a Cactoid must have an intelligence of 13 and a wisdom of 14 to use Cactoid Magic).
Prime Requisite: Strength and Wisdom (+10% to earned experience if both 15 or higher)

Cactoids, also known as Cactus Men, are a race of plant humanoid that appear human aside from their tough, hairless, spiny green skin.

Cactoids roam the deserts and barrens of Algol in small nomadic bands. They eat the same foods as humans as well as snacking on sandy soil, they need only small amounts of water but also require sunlight for photosynthesis. Due to their skills at living off the land, and their low water requirements, they are able to get by in most wilderness areas (with exception for radioactive, frozen, poisoned, etc. environments) without the need to rations or water-skins.

Their spines will inflict 1 point of damage to creatures that grab or bite them, or 1-2 points of damage/round if grappled, constricted, etc. by a creature with an armor class greater than 6. If the Cactoid is being held in the mouth or stomach the creature's armor class will not prevent damage.
Due to their vegetable body structure Cactoids have a +4 on saving throws versus poison, and also take half damage from piercing weapons such as arrows, spears, picks, stingers, etc.
Cactoids have a natural armor class of 7. They are unable to wear armor, aside from shields, unless they clip off their spines, which if allowed, will take one month to regrow.

Cactoids with an Intelligence score of 13 and a Wisdom of 14 can use Cactoid Magic. Cactoid Magic uses spells from the Druid spell lists (aside from Detect Evil), and is cast without any verbal, somatic or material components. Cactoids use and prepare spells the same way a druid does. Cactoids that are capable of using magic are known as "Wise Ones" in Cactoid society.


1st Level
1. Animal Friend
2. Detect Magic
3. Entangle
4. Invisibility to Animals
5. Locate Animal
6. Predict Weather
7. Shillelagh (enchants the Cactoid's forearm instead of cudgel)
8. Speak With Animals

2nd Level
1. Barkskin
2. Charm Animal
3. Detect Evil (2nd level magic-user spell)
4. Feign Death
5. Locate Plants
6. Warp Wood

3rd Level
1. Cure Disease
2. Hold Animal
3. Neutralize Poison
4. Tree

Experience Points Level 8-Sided Hit Dice Attacks/Round 1st Level Spells 2nd Level Spells 3rd level spells
0 1 2 1 - - -
2,251 2 3 1 - - -
4,501 3 4 1 - - -
10,001 4 5 1 - - -
20,001 5 6 1 - - -
40,001 6 7 1 - - -
90,001 7 8 1 - - -
150,001 8 9 3/2 1 - -
225,001 9 10 3/2 1 - -
325,001 10 11 3/2 2 - -
650,001 11 11+2 3/2 2 - -
975,001 12 11+2 2 1 -
1,300,001 13 11+4 3/2 2 1 -
1,625,001 14 11+6 3/2 2 2 -
1,950,001 15 11+8 2 2 2 -
2,600,001 17 11+12 2 2 2 2

Planet Algol Character Class - The Sage

The Sage
(magic-user subclass)

Armor: any (but may not use spells or turn while wearing armor)
Shield: none
Weapons: any (dagger or staff in standard D&D)
Oil: Yes
Poison: Yes
Starting Gold: 2d4 x 10 gold pieces
Weapon Proficiencies: see Magic-User
Starting Age: 24 + 2d8 years
Attack Matrix:: Magic-User
Saving Throw Matrix: Magic-User
Requirements: Intelligence 15, Wisdom 13. A Sage must have a 17 wisdom to cast 6th level spells, and an 18 wisdom to cast 7th level spells
Prime Requisite: Wisdom (+10% to earned experience if 15 or higher)

Experience 4-sided dice for Experience Read Additional Legend Lord &
Level Hit Points Points Languages Languages Item Knowledge
1 1 0 20% 5%
2 2 1,501 25% 7%
3 3 3,001 30% 1 10%
4 4 6,001 35% 13%
5 5 13,001 40% 1 16%
6 6 27,501 45% 1 20%
7 7 55,001 50% 25%
8 8 95,001 55% 1 30%
9 9 145,001 60% 1 35%
10 10 220,001 65% 40%
11 10+1 440,001 70% 1 45%
12 10+2 660,001 80% 1 50%

2200,000 experience points and 1 additional hit point per level of experience beyond the 12th

Sages have the abilities mentioned in the Dungeon Master's Guide (page 31). The number of fields of study the sage possesses is determined by the sage's intelligence score instead of the table in the Dungeon Master's Guide:

Intelligence Major Fields Minor Fields Special Categories in Major Field
15 1
1 2
16 1
2 2
17 1 2 3
18+ 1 2 4

The Sage's player may choose their Fields of Study and Special Knowledge Categories from the table on page 32 without dicing for the results.

Sages have the ability to Read Languages as that of a Thief three levels higher in experience.

Sages have the Additional Languages Known and Legend Lore/Item Knowledge abilities of a Bard that is one level higher in experience. Aside from levels 13 and 16, a Sage will learn a new language at every level past 12 and will gain an additional 5% to their Legend Lore/Item Knowledge ability to a maximum of 99%.

Sages can use some rituals from Carcosan Sorcery; namely the Rituals of Banishing, Invoking and Imprisoning. They do not begin play knowing any rituals.

Sages cast spells in the same manner as a magic-user, although the spells are limited to the ones listed below. They use the Illusionist table to determine spells usable by their level. They use Magic-user rules for beginning and learning spells as well as spellbooks. Sages may use scrolls and spells from magic-user spellbooks that are on the Sage spell tables and may use any magical items that relate to clairaudience, clairvoyance, ESP and telepathy.

The spells listed on the spell tables are from both the cleric and magic-user lists, with some illusionist spells. Sages gain bonus spells for high wisdom as a cleric does. A Sage needs a wisdom score of 17 to cast 6th level spells, and a score of 18 to cast 7th level spells.

A Sage has the power to turn away extra-dimensional beings; this ability is similar to the cleric's ability to turn undead. The referee should compare the extra-dimensional being to an undead creature with similar hit dice (or level of power) and use the cleric's turning matrix located in the Dungeon Master's Guide


1st Level
1 Comprehend Languages
2 Detect Evil
3 Detect Magic
4 Detect Invisibility
5 Detect Illusions (1st level illusionist spell)
6 Identify
7 Light
8 Protection from Evil
9 Read Magic
10 Remove Fear

2nd Level
1 Augury
2 Detect Charm
3 Find Traps
4 Know Alignment
5 Locate Object
6 Slow Poison
7 Speak With Animals

3rd Level
1 Clairaudience
2 Clairvoyance
3 Cure Blindness
4 Cure Disease
5 Dispel Illusion (3rd level illusionist spell)
6 Dispel Magic
7 Feign Death
8 Glyph of Warding
9 Non-detection
10 Prayer
11 Protection From Evil 10' Radius
12 Remove Curse
13 Speak With Dead
14 Tongues

4th Level
1 Detect Lie
2 Divination
3 Exorcise
4 Neutralize Poison
5 Speak With Plants

5th Level
1 Contact Other Plane
2 Dispel Evi
3 Plane Shift
4 Quest
5 Raise Dead
6 True Seeing

6th Level
1 Find the Path
2 Heal
3 Legend Lore
4 Speak With Monsters
5 Stone Tell

7th Level
1 Astral Spell
2 Gate
3 Holy Word
4 Mind Blank(8th level magic user spell)
5 Regenerate
6 Restoration
7 Resurrection
8 Symbol
9 Vision (7th level illusionist spell)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chapter 4, Part 6: "Bounty Hunters of the Bottomless Pit..."

Part I Here, Part II Here, Part III Here, Part IV Here, Part V Here, Part VII Here.

The companions are free of their obligation to the intoxicant vendor Mozug and wander the rusty, dusty streets of Pit seeking a physician. Euphorbus is a sap-leaking unconscious burden that they must tend to with some immediate attention. The party is directed to a shabby building. Entering, they see a place lined with jars and racks of gleaming bladed instruments, replete with a bloody, hacked at, slab wooden table bearing a human leg being dissected by a short rotund man wearing goggles. The doctor blinks, rises, and greets the party. A fee is quickly negotiated and the limb is tossed into a bucket to make room for the Cactoid. Although the physician seems hampered by the vegetative anatomy of Euphorbus, the cactus man is soon back on his feet.

Next the party pesters the physician about the probability of accommodations being available in town. They find that at their generous disposal are such places as the Lead Cup, a cheap dive called the Brass Tines, and an expensive, luxurious hotel called the Titanium Vault. Several express enthusiasm for the cheap dive but the physician poo-poos the notion, "It's a haven of murderers, degenerates, intoxicant addicts and nonhumans! ...err, no offense to you good Cactoid. It is not a safe place by any means!"

Upon hearing this information, they decide to see what lay in store at the Titanium Vault.

Soon they are standing before a large cuboidal building, seemingly constructed from a solid piece of blackish metal. Lacking windows, the building possesses a forbidding appearance. As they approach they find the uniformed doorman is pleasant and they decide to try the hotel out. The doorman instructs them to remove their footwear in the foyer and to wear the provided curly-toed slippers (made of a rich velvet and decorated with golden lace. A very comfortable pair of slippers, indeed). This, to the rugged adventurers, seems a strange notion, but they enter and follow his instructions anyhow.

Next they enter the lobby, and cannot help but to marvel at the rich carpets and decor. A uniformed concierge sits at a massive brass desk, with him they briskly discuss terms, get fingerprinted, and sign the necessary documentation. When all is satisfactorily completed, a uniformed butler is summoned to take them to their room. A click of the door and they enter into a luxurious, windowless, octo-suite complete with 8 beds in curtained alcoves and two resplendant bathrooms.

Kalmor, the bigoted Hyperborean, immediately insists that the bathrooms be segregated: one for the Algol natives, one for the Earth Men. Although the others judge it a frivolous and baseless request, the fanatical gleam in Kalmor's eyes and his sudden angry demeanor are compelling enough, and they agree. Kalmor relaxes, and the party removes their filthy garments and places them in brass baskets for the help to launder. Steam from the large bathtubs slowly fills the room. With the splashing sound of running, scented, foamy water, roaring behind him, Buzz Brazzelhach boasts loudly, calling for a rousing bout of wrestling in the bath. Dickie Dee then runs around the tub, clacking his teeth and snapping at the loud Australian with a short towel.

The butler returns to take their supper orders, and offers them a three course meal with three choices of entrees and two choices of desert. Brandy, ghava and cigars were to be served afterwards. Although the butler is proper and reserved, he is also sincere, solicitous and helpful. Buzz inquires about any local bawdy houses but the Butler admits unfamiliarity with such due to his proper nature, but suggests that the maids employed by the hotel may respond favorably if a sufficient gratuity is provided. The personable Euphorbus befriends the butler and asks if he knows of any work for adventuring types, the butler promises to make inquires.

The delicious meals arrive quickly and soon the party are enjoying their snifters of spiced brandy and pungent green cigars in the comfort of their richly-appointed suite; the only lamenting moment being the realization of the fact that they only have enough gold for two days of this luxurious accommodation.

When delivering breakfast the next day, the butler informs Euphorbus that Lhogar, the boss of a gang of miners, is seeking hardened warriors. The butler also informs Euphorbus that he took the liberty of arranging an interview between him and the party at the Titanium Vault.

After their laundered garments and breakfast are delivered to the suite Buzz Brazzelhach prowls the carpeted halls of the hotel and finds an attractive orange skinned maid with curly black hair and an ample posterior. Buzz is in dire financial straits and lacks the usual 5 gold pieces customary for the requested service but the sole gold piece left in his pouch is enough to ensure that his mission has a happy ending.

During lunch, the party, aside from Euphorbus, are surprised to find at their table Lhogar (who is purple, scaled, hairy, and muscular). Lhogar possesses strong facial features and a bristling black thatch of hair that reminds Buzz of the aborigines of his homeland and he takes an immediate liking to the strapping purple mine boss.

Lhogar explains that the mining gang he runs, the Black Pickaxes, have been working a claim deep in the massive, bottomless pit that lies in the center of the town. A gang of miners had been horribly slain recently, and he suspects that sinister inhuman underworld denizens such as the Hluss, Shunned Ones, or Ssu are responsible. He is willing to offer 50 gold pieces for the head of every monster lurking the tunnels that the party slays, and will also pay for their accommodation at the Titanium Vault for the duration of their commission.

Although the monsters that Lhogar describes sound fierce and vile, the luxurious conditions at the Titanium Vault and generous bounty are sufficient incentive for the party to take the commission and Lhogar makes arrangements to meet the party tomorrow at his offices in the bottomless pit. Buzz immediately requests a 5 gold credit advance, which Lhogar provides before offering advances for weapons, armor and petty expenses. The party takes advantage of this and immediately decides to upgrade their offensive and defensive capabilities at the local merchants.

The next morning the well fed and rested party, some wearing gleaming new mail, set out for the bottomless pit. The pit is a massive shaft in the center of town surrounded by winches and cranes that raise and lower cage-like elevators that provide access to the mineral wealth deep in the planet's crust. A ramp spirals down the side of the shaft.

Lhogar takes them to the Black Pickaxe's lift and they sit on the benches within. It seems as they are lowered into the pit for hours before coming to their destination; a dock-like construction attached to the entrance of a tunnel bored into the side of the pit.

Lhogar introduces them to the foreman responsible for this tunnel He briefs them on the situation and leads them to a recently installed barred titanium door deep in the tunnel. He explains that the door leads to two tunnels, one unexplored and one that would lead to chamber full of mineral deposits where a mining gang was slaughtered.

The door is opened, the party enters and the door is quickly barred behind them. The foreman, through the door, promises to wait and unbar the door when the party returns. The adventurers follow the foreman's directions to the chamber full of mineral deposits, the floor is strewn with scattered tools and pools of blood. A sweet acidic odor fills their nostrils. They wait there for a while to see if they are attacked, but nothing materializes.

They then proceed to the tunnel exiting the far wall of the cavern where their sputtering chemical torches reveal reflections of blue-black, iridescent, carapaces lurking in the dark tunnel. The party quickly forms a fighting line as six, horrid, scorpion-like Hluss, charge the party, each of their six limbs waving a deadly jagged sword. Rygarr renders five of them comatose with a somnolent incantation and the remaining Hluss flee into the tunnel. The fleeter members of the party consider giving chase, but cooler heads prevail and they instead collect the heads of the Hluss and retrace their steps back to the door.

As they return the party begins choking on a sudden, foul stench. At the intersection they see two gangling, skinny humanoids dressed in black and brown wrappings. They have robes and heads that resemble mottled rotting fruit, complete with two featureless button like black eyes. The creatures stood motionless, blocking their passage with slender greatswords; they could be none other than the infamous Shunned Ones.

The party attempts parley but the gangly, brown Shunned Ones respond by assuming fighting stances, and a battle ensues. They beings are lightning quick, dodging attacks with unnatural grace. Th is only inspires the party, and they attack with all the more vigor, only to be thwarted by alien swordplay deflecting most of their blows. However the Shunned Ones are quickly slain and their heads are just as quickly collected.

Returning to the titanium door they find the foreman quaking in fear. He smelled the foul odorous spoor of the shunned ones, and only a a display of the severed heads reassures him. He then releases them, barring the door behind he takes them to his office where he pays the party. In celebration and good spirit, they enjoy a drink of gin and pungent green cigars before returning to the lift for the hours long ride back up to the surface, their pockets all the while bulging with the girth of gold credits.

Once back, they rest for a couple of days at the Titanium Vault. The fighting men recover from the wounds inflicted by the wand-like swords of the Shunned Ones. The un-injured duo, Dickie Dee and Maggot Mort, are restless, and go to the Brass Tines to see if there is something about.

The tavern lives up to it's reputation, swarming with degenerate intoxicant addicts, gnolls, mutants, and run-down machine hybrids. Although the crowd seems hostile, the barkeep is friendly and they make a deal for a half cube of Gamma Orichalcum and a room for the night. The room has two filthy pallets and some tools to smoke Gamma Orichalcum. The Bone Man and the unhealthy mutant binge on the isotope and return to the Titanium Vault the next day, their skins waxy and gray from inhalant abuse.

In the morning the party enjoys a gourmet lunch from the hotel kitchens as they count their piles of gold credits and make plans to return to the underworld beneath Pit...

Part I Here, Part II Here, Part III Here, Part IV Here, Part V Here, Part VII Here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Races of Algol Men

"...Algol is much older than Earth, and has had life and intelligent inhabitants for far longer....Over the millennia in the weird environments of Algol many of those species have developed along strange evolutionary paths as well and there are many different races of man that are, despite being wholly human, are radically different in appearance to Earth men, possessing strange coloration or features such as crests, webbed digits, scaled skin, or other such things strange to our earth sensibilities..."

Note that although the racial names below are the proper nomenclature, it is common to describe an Agog Man soley by their skin color, ie. an Agogi as a Pink Man, a Lhoyg as a Black and White Man, a Mhoght as a purple man, or a Zhaxxi as a Silver Man. Earth Men are immediately recognizable as a foreign race by Algol natives and are referred to as Earth Men regardless of their skin colour. Among the upper and learned classes the usuage of skin color as a descriptor is considered vulgar and the proper racial name is used instead, aside from Earth Men.

Agogi Men
Pink skin.
Most are hairless.
Thin, fine silver or white hair.
White or pink eyes.

Angalla Men
Nut brown to mahogany skin
Glossy wavy black hair.
Men have thick, lustrous facial hair.
Black or brown eyes.

Azgukh Men
Blue-green skin with purple stripes like that of a tiger.
Inky dark green to dark purple hair.
Gold eyes.

Barshi Men
Black, glossy skin.
Black, straight or wavy glossy hair.
Black, gray or gold eyes

Bone Men
Transparent flesh, like very clear glass, only the skeleton is visible.
Transparent eyes.

Dhazzhi Men
Bronze skin
Black, inky blue, dark metallic green or silver hair.
Gold or bronze eyes.

Gresh Men
Lemon yellow skin.
Yellow, green or brown eyes.

Haasht Men
Jade-toned, finely scaled skin.
Men have crests of lavender to blue-green scales instead of hair.
Women have wavy hair that are the same colours as the men's crests.
Iridescent bronze or copper eyes.

Hyperborean Men
Ashen white skin.
Silvery to gray hair.
Gray, white or yellow eyes.

Jhagkhi Men
Dull gray skin.
Shark-like fin on head instead of hair.
White to light gray eyes.

Kherulhi Men
Sky blue glossy skin.
Completely hairless.
Black eyes

Khoolvi Men
Orange skin with dark-brown or black tiger stripes, like that of a tiger.
Black, brown or coppery straight to bushy hair.
Copper eyes.

Lhovhami Men
Scarlet to vermilion glossy skin
Black, straight, glossy hair.
Black or dark brown eyes.

Lhoyg Men
Black and white skin in a piebald pattern.
Black or white eyes, having two different colored eyes is very common.

Mhoght Men
Purple, finely scaled skin.
Bushy or woolly black hair.
Men have bristling facial hair and broad, heavy facial features.
Black eyes.

Morheeg Men
Orange and yellow mottled skin.
Black, straight glossy hair.
Black eyes.

Nire Witches
Ivory skin.
Black, long, straight hair.
Blue, gray or yellow eyes.
The Nire race is entirely composed of women.

Ohlvidhi Men
Golden skin.
Coppery, bronze or brassy curly to bushy hair.
Yellow eyes.

Shuzakh Men
Black, glossy skin with red to orange stripes or spots.
Black eyes.

Tikalg Men
Pale gray, downy skin.
White crest of long, curling feathers instead of hair.
Yellow eyes.

Vhaashti Men
Violet to indigo skin.
Black, straight hair with iridescent highlights.
Iridescent green or blue-green eyes.

Viisstri Men
Gray skin.
Gray to black lank hair.
White, gray or yellow eyes.

Vlesh Men
Light to Dark green skin.
Ribbed crest like that of a dimetrodon instead of hair.
Yellow eyes.

Zhermish Men
Bright green skin
Many men are hairless.
Yellow to green hair that is woolly to wavy.
Blue to green eyes.

Zhaghri Men
Pumpkin orange to amber skin
Curly black hair.
Women have ample posteriors.
Black eyes.

Zhaxxi Men
Silver skin.
Black, gray, silver or white hair.
Pink eyes.

Random Racial Determination Table (d30)
1 - Agog Man
2 - Angalla Man
3 - Azgukh Man
- Barshi Man
- Bone Man
- Dhazzhi Man
- Earth Man
8 - Gresh Man
- Haasht Man
- Hyperborean Man
11 - Jhagkhi Man
- Kherulhi Man
- Khoolvi Man
- Lhovhami Man
- Lhoyg Man
- Mhoght Man
17 - Morheeg Man
- Nire Witch
- Ohlvidhi Man
20 - Shuzakh Man
21 - Tikalg Man
- Vhaashti Man
- Viisstri Man
24 - Vlesh Man
- Zhermish Man
- Zhaghri Man
- Zhaxxi Man
28-30 - Nonhuman or reroll

Usually on Repeat During Combat...

Perhaps the best fighting music ever and so appropriate for Planet Algol. I love the alien worlds of the original Star Trek and much of Algol's landscape look the same.

Chapter 4, Part 5: "A Triumphant Return..."

Part I Here, Part II Here, Part III Here, Part IV Here, Part VI Here, Part VII Here.

...the deformed creatures approach their aspect that of a random mishmash of amphibian and human features with glistening, milky translucent skin, hopping on spindly bent limbs, their bony arms clutching crude fishing spears and war clubs.

Once they get close enough one of the sorcerers unleashes a spell engulfing them in somnolent vapours and they collapse into the mud slumbering. Quickly the party slits their throats and crushes their heads, Dickie Dee again driving a javelin into the brain of an unconscious victim. More corpses are heaped in a pile on top of the body of the dimetrodon, more corpses for the Gyraphont.

Soon the lobster-ghoul reappears and the majority of the companions keep their eyes elsewhere. It is delighted with the pile of corpses and plows into the heap of bodies, it's numberless nippered and pincered appendages blurring as it tears into the flesh, sending fluids and shredded flesh, fat and skin flying while it's complex mandible relentlessly gobble up the feast. Most of the party are disgusted by the wet ripping and sucking sounds, but maintain a stiff upper lip.

The Gyraphont is satiated after quickly devouring a third of the mass of the corpse pile, going after the choicest, juiciest bits, and it is draped and spattered with the remains of its meal. Buzz informs it that they have recovered a glowing ocher lotus slime pod and would like to return, but could the Gyraphont please drop them off somewhere in Pit instead of Mozug's lair?

The loyal extradimensonal being insists that they be transported directly to Mozug's lair as they should immediately take the slime pod to it's master.

Buzz bluffs and frantically searches the party's baggage, "We lost the slime pod! Could you return one day hence so we can harvest another?"

The Gyraphont agrees, and expresses anticipation for how delicious the corpse pile, swarming with insects and worms, will be after rotting for another day's span in the sweltering swamp before disappearing.

The party decides to head east this time, into the Slime Lands proper, and several hours later Rygarr's keen eye spots a dim ocher glow emerging from a hummock of vegetation just as three lumbering crabmen emerge from the fog.

After a brief melee the crabmen are dispatched and an inspection of the hummock reveals a glowing slimy ocher lotus bearing an oblong pod oozing with pungents slowing slime. It is harvested, the narcotic slime numbing the skin that contacts it, and stored in a sack. The party returns to their rendezvous point, dragging the crabmen corpses through the mud.

The bodies are thrown onto the rotting corpse pile, and again they attempt to make themselves comfortable in hummocks of rotting vegetation as they bunk down for the night.

The roars and splashing of unseens behemoths sporting in the slime is the only thing that disturbs their rest, but as the suns rise three zorse-sized crabs come lumbering out of the morning mists.

Another brutal battle occurs, the injured cactoid Euphorbus attempts to stay out of the fray and peppers the crustaceans with crossbow bolts from his perch in a bush. Two of the lumbering, armored beings are quickly dispatched as the third heads directly for the cactus man and after it's pincers tear him into unconsciousness begins dragging his body away.

The companions desperately slosh through the knee-high slime, manage to prevent it's retreat and recover their chewed up and nippered ally. The three crabs are thrown onto the corpse pile.

Several hours later the Gyraphont returns and begins ferrying the party members to Mozug's lair via rends in spacetime, dropping them off before the door to the guard chamber. It cheerfully thanks them for the impressive pile of tasty corpses.

Once they have been transported to Mozug's Lair, in the tunnel right before the door to the guardroom, they knock on the door and a small aperture is opened from within revealing the face of a guard.

The nervous companions respond to the guard's inquiry with a mixed bag of responses, "Take us to Mozug!", "We have a glowing ocher slime pod to give you", "No, we don't want to see Mozug", "Just take this slime pod", "I want to speak with this Mozug!"

This babble makes the Phraint guard within the room suspicious and they hear it's buzzing insect voice expressing it's misgivings. Intimidated by the strange being the party thrusts the slimepod through the aperture in the door and tear off through the tunnels of Mozug's Lair bearing the unconscious Euphorbus.

When they arrive at the trapdoor at the top of the stairs they are unable to open it as it seems like a great weight has been placed on it. They bang and yell and soon hear a loud scraping sound before the trapdoor is opened revealing the scowling face of the Lead Cup's barkeep who is sweating from the effort of shoving a crate of lead bars off of the trapdoor. He bids them to ascend but responds to the party's overtures and requests for refreshment with hostility.

"I don't know what you fools are up to, but I don't ever want to see you again! Take some lead canteens of Gin and get the hell out of here!" Dickie Dee attempts to grab several canteens of gin from the shelves of the storeroom and it sternly rebuffed and threatened.

The party hoists their unconscious Cactoid companion and canteens of gin and exits the dive to wander the streets of Pit seeking a physician and a hostel...

Part I Here, Part II Here, Part III Here, Part IV Here, Part VI Here, Part VII Here.